Getting guinea pigs is super exciting! Make sure you grab all the essential guinea pig supplies before you bring home your new pet. You can even download a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything!
Essential Guinea Pig Supplies
Guinea pigs need lots of space to run around. Many pet shop cages are not large enough to be suitable.
My local animal welfare centre (Raystede) recommends a pair of guinea pigs should have a cage that is:
at least 150cm x 45cm x 45cm
If you have more than two guinea pigs, the cage size must be increased to allow sufficient space for them all.
Guinea pigs can be housed indoors or outdoors. Can’t decide where to house your piggies? Read the pros and cons of each here.
Single storey hutches are best for guinea pigs as they can sometimes struggle with ramps.
Over winter, outdoor piggies will need to be moved to an indoor space such as a shed to keep them warm enough. Once the temperature drops below 15C, guinea pigs start to struggle with the cold. Therefore, it is essential you have space to move them if you are going to house them outdoors.
Lots of people house their guinea pigs indoors in C & C cages. They’re social creatures, both with each other and with humans, and like to be part of the family. As soon as you open the fridge door, they’ll start wheeking in the hope that food is coming!
I currently have two groups of guinea pigs who are both indoors in C & C cages: one cage that I pre-bought and one I made myself. I’ve written a full guide on how to build your own C & C cage from scratch.
There are several choices for guinea pig bedding. The most recommended is simply a few layers of newspaper topped with lots of fresh hay which they can also eat!
Woodshavings are NOT recommended for guinea pigs as they can cause lots of respiratory problems.
For indoor C & C cages, many guinea pig owners use fleece bedding. This can simply be a layer of fleece material with an absorbent layer underneath such as towels. The fleece layer needs to be pre-treated by washing it several times to enable the water to wick through to the absorbent layer underneath.
You may have heard the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund slogan “a hutch is not enough” and the same is true for guinea pigs.
at least 6ft x 3ft
You should make sure your run has a lid and is secure to keep them safe while they’re outside.
A guinea pig’s diet is made up of several parts:
- Guinea pig nuggets
- Hay – there are different varieties available: I use a mixture of meadow hay and timothy hay for my piggies. They also love grass! If you can’t get your guinea pigs outside onto the grass, you can give them a handful of picked grass (NOT mown grass) to munch on
- Fresh greens – fruit and vegetables such as: spinach, brocolli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, apple, strawberry
- Treats – pet shop guinea pig treats are often filled with sugar and not appropriate for your guinea pig. I offer my guinea pigs a handful of Readigrass every few days (Not in the UK? Find Readigrass on Amazon)
- Water – guinea pigs need constant access to clean, fresh water
Hideys & Toys
The main grooming task you’ll have is trimming your guinea pig’s nails. (You might ask, how do I trim guinea pig nails?). To do this you’ll need special small animal nail clippers. I recommend this set which comes with several handy grooming brushes for keeping their coats healthy.
You probably wont have to brush a short haired guinea pig very often, but you’ll want to brush a long haired one more frequently to prevent their fur getting matted.
Guinea pigs don’t need bathing very often but occasionally you may need to wash them. Make sure you use a suitable shampoo for guinea pigs to protect their skin. Here’s a handy guide for bathing your piggies!